Two primary schools from WA’s Astrotourism Towns communities have exhibited 3D modelling designs that create innovation for sustainable space development.

Gascoyne Junction Remote Community School displayed concepts for the reduction of light pollution to ensure ground-based telescopes on Earth can continue scientific research. Bindoon Primary School designed specialised games to keep astronauts mentally fit during long stays in space. The image above features special visitor on the day, the Hon Stephen Dawson, with Scarlet Boddington and her teacher, Ms Carmen Wilson.

The 2023 Kids in Space Education Program was a joint initiative between Empire Builders, the Andy Thomas Space Foundation and the Australian Space Agency. Each learning plan was based around space and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

There were over 500 applications from all over Australia with eight schools in each State granted the opportunity to use problem solving, design and creative skills to solve space-related issues. Schools selected for Kids in Space received a $6,000 package which included a 3D printer and a learning by design program with guest speakers from the space industry. 

Winners were announced at a competition showcase held at Scitech last month. Entrants were judged by James Yuen, Space Director at the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation; Darcey Watson, Executive Officer of the Andy Thomas Foundation and Evan Thyer, Program Coordinator at Scitech.

The winning team, from Santa Clara Primary School, was presented with a trophy and prize by the Minister for Science, Hon Stephen Dawson. The student team will travel to the Australian Space Discovery Centre in Adelaide later this year to compete for the national title.

During the showcase day at Scitech, attending students and teachers heard a special message from Dr Andy Thomas congratulating them on their achievements.

The night skies over Mount Augustus near Gascoyne Junction are a world-class tourism asset for Western Australia.

Also attending on the day, Carol Redford, CEO, Astrotourism WA said, “It was inspiring to see students from Gascoyne Junction Remote Community School and Bindoon Primary School design solutions for a sustainable space industry. As an advocate for the reduction of light pollution, it was especially terrific to see students from remote Gascoyne Junction design light shielding technology for the cause”.

Light pollution is the man-made brightening of the night sky caused by unshielded outdoor lights. 80% of the world’s population, including people in Perth, lives under a dome of light pollution and may never experience the visual wonder or ecological and health benefits of living under a dark sky.

Carol Redford, CEO of Astrotourism WA said: “Protecting the night sky in this way, helps ground-based telescopes access as pristine a night sky for optical observations. And, in a world where light pollution has destroyed the view of the stars for millions around the world, it also helps WA protect its dark sky asset for a future Dark Sky Tourism Industry. The recent eclipse in Exmouth has boosted awareness about WA’s word-class dark night sky”.